Former HP VP charged with stealing IBM trade secrets

Trade secrets revealed in e-mail that contained IBM's calibration metrics

A former Hewlett-Packard vice president was indicted by a US federal grand jury last week for allegedly stealing trade secrets from his former employer, IBM.

Atul Malhotra is charged with allegedly e-mailing "confidential" IBM information to two senior vice presidents at HP. HP terminated Malhotra, who worked at the company for four months, and reported the incident to law enforcement, as well as to IBM, according to a statement from Emma McCulloch, a spokeswoman for HP.

""The activity with which Malhotra is charged was in direct violation of clear HP policies, including HP Standards of Business Conduct," according to the statement. "HP has cooperated fully with the government's investigation."

McCulloch declined to disclose any further details about the case.

Malhotra was employed at IBM from November 1997 to April 2006, noted a federal charging document. He served as a director in the company's global services department. The U.S. Attorney's office in California asserts that in March of 2006, while still employed at IBM, he requested and received "trade secret" information about calibration metrics. Each page was reportedly marked "IBM Confidential".

The charging document also notes that a pricing coordinator at IBM Global Services warned Malhotra that "given the sensitive nature of the material, please do not distribute."

In May 2006, Malhotra was hired by HP as vice president of imaging and printing services, according to the papers filed in federal court in San Jose. Late in July of that year, he allegedly sent an email to an HP senior vice president. The e-mail, which had the subject line "For Your Eyes Only", had an attachment that contained IBM's calibration metrics. Two days later, Malhotra sent an e-mail with the same attached information to another HP senior vice president, according to the documents.

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